Those presky greys

The next step in my tonal exercises was to paint the cubes in the greys. I also needed to make a chart that I could hold up to the still life setup to measure the tonal values.

I was surprised at how difficult it was to match the greys on the grey scale. Mixing the paints took hours even then I wasn’t happy with them. I’ve left the cubes to dry – the oils are going to take a few days – they look like they’ll need a second coat anyway.

The chart wasn’t any easier. I mixed another set of greys and tried again. Still not happy. I kept going on this exercise until I felt competent. It has taken weeks.

The upside is that I can now mix those greys in about 45 minutes!

Grey scale

Another problem came up with the grey scale I was using. The more I worked with it the more I was convinced that it too geared to the light end – the differences between the lightest colours was too subtle compared to the mid tones.

I had been dithering for weeks about whether to send away for the Munsell Student Set. This issue did it. I knew the Student Set had a value scale, I also knew that the whole basis for the Munsell Theory was value steps that are spaced visually even. It’s scientifically done and tested. In short a scale I could trust. I sent away for it.

When the Munsell set arrived I started over. More charts. The one here is the latest. Not very elegant but the greys are good.

And I’ve finally put the second coat of paint on those cubes, sphere and cones.

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